The TONYC Team includes the staff based in our Midtown office, and our Jokers working with theatre troupes throughout New York City.
The TONYC Jokers have facilitated Forum Theatre projects in partnership with dozens of social service organizations and city agencies throughout New York. They have conducted workshops and trainings for community groups, universities, and staff at non-profit organizations. International experience includes collaborations with Cardboard Citizens (UK), New Haven-Leon Sister City Project (Nicaragua), Jana Sanksriti (India), Center for Theatre of the Oppressed—Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
Katy Rubin, Founder and Executive Director
Katy Rubin is a joker, director, actor and circus artist. She has facilitated and directed Forum and Legislative Theater workshops and performances in partnership with various communities including homeless adults and youth; LGBT homeless teens; people living with HIV/AIDS; recent immigrants; and court-involved youth and adults. Katy trained with Augusto Boal at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed—Rio de Janeiro, and later with Jana Sanskriti in India, Mind the Gap in Yorkshire and Cardboard Citizens in London. She has trained facilitators in Nicaragua, the Netherlands, Norway and New Orleans as well as NYC. She holds a BFA in Acting from the Boston University School of Theater.
photo credit: Will O'Hare
Sulu LeoNimm, Joker and Program Director
Sulu LeoNimm has worked with TONYC since 2011 as a Joker, facilitating Forum Theatre Troupes at the Ali Forney Center, Hetrick-Martin Institute, the Staten Island Youth Justice Center, and CASES Queens Justice Corps. As Program Director, they support the planning for TONYC's Forum Theatre Troupes, the organization's workshops, and the joker team's training in & investigation of Theatre of the Oppressed. Sulu has been a Brooklyn-based theater artist and physical theater performer since 2003, enthralled with making ensemble-devised work. They are co-founder of Pack of Others, have performed with the South Wing, in the premiere of Mac Wellman's 3 2's and Afar, and worked with ensembles including Blessed Unrest, East Third Ensemble, Aeolian Theater, Denver's LIDA Project and with Seattle's Nebunele Theatre.
photo credit: Will O'Hare
TS Hawkins, Program Coordinator
TS Hawkins is an international author, performance poet, artivist, and emerging playwright. Her plays & short works include: Seeking Silence, Cartons of Ultrasounds, Too Late to Apologize, They’ll Neglect to Tell You, #RM2B, The Secret Life of Wonder: a prologue in G, AGAIN, #SuiteReality, and “don’t wanna dance with ghosts…”.
Hawkins’ one-act choreopoem, AGAIN, was acknowledged for having the "Best Theater Moment of 2017" along with #SuiteReality receiving the 2017 "Reality Check" Surya Bonaly Award. Her books include: Sugar Lumps & Black Eye Blues, Confectionately, Yours, Mahogany Nectar, Lil Blaek Book: all the long stories short, and The Hotel Haikus. Hawkins is most known for her Poetry Master Class, "Thriving Ain't Easy"; a course that infuses health, wellness, and activism through poetry. tspoetics.com
Holly Sansom, Operations Manager
Holly Sansom is a theatre artist and administrator. Her previous experience includes General Manager and Ensemble member of Honest Accomplice Theatre, a company creating devised work by women and trans people; Production Supervisor of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Epic Theatre Ensemble. She is thrilled to continue her work in supporting and creating communities to fight intersectional oppression through theatre. She holds a BFA in Acting from Long Island University Post.
Katie Diamond, Communications & Design Coordinator
Katie Diamond is an illustrator, media maker, and tattoo artist. She strongly believes that art and design can elevate any message, and tries her hardest to use her artistic powers for good. Her work has been featured in books, plays, comics, multi-media projects, and more. She's been learning the NYC terrain since 2012. katiediamond.com
photo credit: Ann Marie Amick
Becca Lynch, Joker
Becca Lynch, Joker and Founding Member, has been practicing Theatre of the Oppressed since 2007, with TONYC since 2011. In New York City and in Los Angeles she has worked with youth, people with experiences of homelessness, LGBTQ groups, and immigrant communities to create Forum and Legislative Theatre. Internationally, she trained with Jana Sanskriti in Kolkata, India, and Amani People’s Theatre in Nairobi, Kenya. She holds a BA in Theatre and Psychology from the University of Southern California.
photo credit: Will O'Hare
John LeoNimm, Joker
John LeoNimm is a Founding Member Joker of TONYC. He has studied Theatre of the Oppressed with Falconworks and in Guatemala with Stephane Gue. He is also a hospital Clown with Healthy Humor, Inc's Red Nose Docs and has toured with Clowns Without Borders to Mexico & Guatemala. Mr. LeoNimm also teaches and creates subversive physical comedy: tinyDANGEROUSfun! variety show & co-created the award winning Handshake Uppercut. He is a graduate from the Dell 'Arte School of Physical Theatre. Awards: Gold Medal, NY Clown Olympics; Best Comedy & Best Physical Theatre, SF Fringe Fest; Encore Award, Boulder Fringe Fest; "Must See," Chicago Fringe Fest; Individual Artist Project Award; Rasmussen Foundation. johnleo.net
photo credit: Will O'Hare
Kate Clark, Joker
Kate is a Joker and radical social worker passionate about dismantling individual and systemic oppression through art, community organizing, and liberatory mental health practices. A founding member of TONYC, Kate has been using theatre as a tool for creative social change since 2011. She has facilitated forum theatre with community-based troupes across all five boroughs of NYC including actors at The Red Hook Community Justice Center, The Fortune Society, Hetrick Martin Institute, CASES, EFLI, and more. Kate holds a BA in Theatre from Saint Michael’s College and an MSW from The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.
Charles Whitewolf, Joker
Charles Whitewolf wanted to become a social advocate and also wanted to major in theatre. With that passion they became an actor with the Ali Forney Troupe, a program of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC). About 2 years later, having gone through rigorous Joker Training Levels 1 and 2 with TONYC, they joined the TONYC team as a Joker and returned to the Ali Forney Center to co-facilitate the troupe where it all started. They have since led other TONYC troupes including Concrete Justice and Housing Works as well as trainings and workshops for other social services organizations. An LGBTQIA activist and a poet, they were featured in a documentary called More than T and other video projects by Transparent director Silas Howard. You can usually find them longboarding around NYC or at rallies or marches fighting for human rights.
Max Freedman, Joker
Max Freedman has been a Joker with TONYC since 2012. Troupes include Housing Works (Some Things $ Can't Buy, Apartment Complex), Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets (Guilty by Association), Harlem Justice Corps (Statistic), LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (Gender Sacred), Majora Carter Group (Memories of the Future), and Concrete Justice (The Housing Circus, The Daily Lives of Street Vendors). Max is a Senior Educator at the New-York Historical Society, where he created a new outreach program using theater to teach American history. He is one of the producers of Unsettled, a new podcast about Israel-Palestine and the Jewish diaspora, and working on a limited podcast series about Central Brooklyn public schools for Brooklyn Deep. He recently joined Pratt Institute as adjunct faculty in Art and Design Education. B.A. in Theatre, Northwestern University. M.S. in Design and Urban Ecologies, Parsons School of Design.
Nivia Marrero Rolón, Joker
Nivia Marrero Rolón was born and raised in Jayuya Puerto Rico. She holds a BA in Theatre Education from the University of Puerto Rico and an MA in Applied Theatre from The School of Professional Studies in New York City. She works as an Early Childhood and Elementary Spanish and theater teacher. Nivia has also worked with the Latino youth of New York exploring themes of cultural identity through theatre.
Liz Morgan, Joker & Community Resources Coordinator
Liz is best known for her poem "Why I was Late Today and Will Probably Always be Late as a Black Woman" featured in The Huffington Post. She holds both a B.A. and M.F.A. from Brown University where she was a graduate teaching fellow in the Theatre Arts department as well as the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting. She has studied theatre and dance abroad as well at the London Dramatic Academy and the Yeredon Center for Malian Arts where she facilitated The Communal Bowl Conference on malnutrition and the arts. Liz recently joined the Planned Parenthood Activist Council. She has been a joker with TONYC since 2015, and has worked as a teaching artist with Opening Act, The Other Side and People's Theatre Project. lizmorganonline.com
Raquel Almazan, Joker
Raquel Almazan is an actor, writer, director in theatre/film/television productions. Her eclectic career as artist-activist spans original multi-media solo performances, playwriting, new work development and dramaturgy. She is a practitioner of Butoh Dance and the creator/facilitator of arts programs for youth/adults, several of which focus on social justice. Her work has been featured in New York City- including Off-Broadway, throughout the United States and internationally in Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Colombia, Guatemala and Sweden; including several of her plays within her lifelong project on writing bi-lingual plays in dedication to each Latin American country (Latin is America play cycle). raquelalmazan.com
Ashley Rogers, Joker
Letitia Bouie, Joker
Letitia started acting with the Concrete Justice Troupe in May 2013. Her first play was “The Housing Circus” and the character she took on was the Lion Tamer, a character who personified her real life experiences. She worked hard by attending TONYC workshops and events that geared her towards becoming an activist/actress while learning more about people who have experienced homelessness. In November 2017, she took on the role of Joker/Facilitator, joined the P.B.NYC Budget Committee, and became one of TONYC’s Arts & Homeless / Housing & Equity Justice Delegates.
Maaji Nishizaka, Joker
Maajidah Nishizaka is a natural born activist, poet, and creator from the Bronx who has worked with TONYC for several years as an actor, and has performed and published an original book of poems with the organization's flagship troupe, Concrete Justice. A love for screen, photography, music and theatre, Maajidah enjoys working with Windows of Hip Hop and was recently in an independent film called Rocona Park. This past Mother's Day for the first time in her life, Maajidah was the Executive Director of the play “The Cart” which she co-starred in alongside members of the Concrete Justice Troupe members Bill Lee and Marcus Moore at the Wow Cafe. The show was dedicated to Anthony Horton, a beautiful member of TONYC who lived in the subway and was killed in a fire.
Gariyana Williams, Joker
Gariyana started working with Theatre of the Oppressed NYC as an Actor with the Crown Heights YO S.O.S. Troupe in October of 2016. Since then, she's gone from Actor to Joker-in-Training, and has been working with TONYC's Housing Works troupe, and her original troupe at YO S.OS.